Missouri budget

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Jay Nixon is continuing to defend a decision to withhold more than $170 million from the fiscal year 2012 budget, despite a constitutional challenge from another statewide official.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Updated with comments from Schweich, statement from Nixon.

Missouri state auditor Tom Schweich has released a report that is sharply critical of Gov. Jay Nixon's decision to withhold $172  million from the current budget to help the state cope with a series of natural disasters.

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University of Missouri officials plan to make big cuts to an investment program in order to balance the books after a surprise cut in state funding.

The UM System says the Enterprise Investment Program’s budget will drop from $5 million to less than $3 million. UM System Vice President for Finance and Administration, Nikki Krawitz, said the year-old program helps bring University research and inventions to the marketplace.

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The two-person office that helped directors find locations, talent and equipment when they shot movies in Missouri is closing its doors Thursday, the victim of ongoing tight budgets.

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Governor Jay Nixon (D) has signed Missouri’s $23 billion budget for the next fiscal year into law – but he’s also slashed $172 million from the spending plan that takes effect July first.

Nixon says the cuts are needed not only to keep the state budget balanced, but to also help cover storm damage costs.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Nixon to sign budget, Missouri RX bills

Gov. Jay Nixon will sign the 2012 budget for the state of Missouri - and cuts to the $23 billion spending plan are already in the works.

The governor said two weeks ago he would have to cut at least $113 million. Much of that is due to unplanned expenses from the Joplin tornado and flooding in southeast Missouri. More cuts could be necessary as the state is now also responding to floods along the Missouri River in the northwest corner of the state.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will shift $25 million from next year’s state budget to help pay for damage in Joplin caused by last weekend’s deadly tornado.

Nixon says he doesn’t yet know which areas of the FY 2012 budget he’ll use to help offset tornado expenses.

“What decisions we have to make because of that to trim the budget and to balance, we’ll make over the coming weeks…if the demands for dollars continue to move up, we clearly have other sources, other ways to get resources,” Nixon said.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon says he's confident his office can reach agreement with state House and Senate members over a series of tax breaks - known as "Aerotropolis" - designed to boost St. Louis as a hub for Chinese cargo.

SLPRnews

After Guilty Verdict, Jury Will Now Decide Coleman's Punishment

The jury that convicted Christopher Coleman in the murder of his wife and sons now must decide whether he’s eligible for the death penalty.

Jurors deliberated for nearly 15 hours over two days before finding the 34-year-old Coleman guilty of three counts of first-degree murder Thursday evening. Thirty-one-year-old Sheri Coleman and the couple's 9- and 11-year-old sons were strangled in their Columbia home in May 2009.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The $23 billion operating budget for the state of Missouri is on its way to Governor Jay Nixon (D).

Lawmakers in both chambers gave final approval to the package of bills this afternoon.

SLPRnews

On Second Anniversary of Murders, Coleman Jury Deliberates

The jurors in the Christopher Coleman triple murder trial will begin a second day of deliberations. Coleman, a former Marine, is accused of strangling his wife and two sons in order to advance a love affair and protect his job working for Joyce Meyer Ministries.

Jurors began deliberating Wednesday, Day 8 of the trial. The defense opened their case Wednesday morning and called two witnesses: a handwriting expert and a forensic linguist.

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Will be updated.

Funding for education is being pitted against aid to the elderly and disabled as Missouri lawmakers attempt to negotiate a final version of the state budget.

Negotiations stalled shortly after they started Monday because of a disagreement among House and Senate members about how much Missouri can afford to spend in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

At issue are the amounts of money going toward public school busing, colleges and universities, in-home care providers for the disabled and prescription drug aid for seniors and the disabled.

bkusler/Flickr

Osama bin Laden is Dead

Missouri lawmakers are reacting to the news that the mastermind of 9-11 has been killed by US Forces. In a statement, Republican Senator Roy Blunt calls Osama bin Laden’s death a major victory for America. Missouri’s Democratic Senator, Claire McCaskill, calls bin Laden’s death quote “justice delivered.”

The Missouri Senate has passed the state budget for next year.

The Senate’s $23.2 billion spending plan cuts the state’s higher education budget by 4.8 percent, and provides an additional $20 million for school bus funding.  Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) sponsored the budget bills in the Senate.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri’s state budget for next year has been passed by the State House

The $23 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2012 holds current K-12 funding levels in place while cutting funds for higher education by seven percent.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has started debating the $23 billion state budget for next year.

The tone of the debate continues to be mild, with Democrats holding the view that there’s not much money to fight over.

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  • Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer says he is looking for around $500 million of savings in the state budget over the next several years. Missouri's Legislature is not in session this week because of its annual spring break. But Mayer says he nonetheless will be meeting with Senate budget-writing staff to try to identify changes that can save the state money. Mayer is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He gave little indication of what he is looking to cut. But Mayer did note that a gubernatorial commission has identified potential savings by restructuring and paring back the state's tax credits. Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey says the chamber is expected to take up a package of tax credit changes when lawmakers return from their break.

  • University of Missouri curators head to Rolla to determine the qualifications for the system's next president. The two-day meeting beginning Monday at Missouri University of Science and Technology follows several statewide public forums by a 20-member advisory panel that will help curators choose the new president. Curators are looking to replace Gary Forsee, who retired in January to care for his ill wife. Former general counsel Steve Owens is the interim president but is not interested in the permanent job. Campus leaders expect the presidential search to last most of this year. Curators will craft a statement on the desired qualifications of the four-campus system's next leader based in part on public comments from the statewide meetings.

  • The state of Illinois' decision to eliminate the death penalty means about three dozen state employees will soon be out of work. The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports that State Appellate Defender Michael Pelletier began notifying about 37 employees in his office on Friday that their jobs are being eliminated. That's because Gov. Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty earlier this month and commuted the sentences of the 15 men on death row. Most of the employees being cut are lawyers who handled death penalty cases. The reduction will save about $4.7 million.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The House Budget Committee has quickly wrapped up work on Missouri’s state budget for Fiscal Year 2012.

The process of voting 13 budget bills out of committee is often raucous and can take several days to do.  This year, it only took an hour, with each budget bill passing overwhelmingly.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn gave his annual state budget address today in Springfield.

Join us tonight at 7 p.m.  for a broadcast the full address on 90.7 FM or online here.

You can also follow along and read the full text of the Governor's address here.

So far, here are some reactions to Quinn's budget:

Missouri's finances are improving, but Gov. Jay Nixon's administration remains reluctant to reverse spending cuts affecting public schools, college scholarships and other services.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon plans to deliver his annual State of the State speech on Jan. 19.

The speech is given each year in the House chamber before a joint legislative session. Governors use the speech to outline their priorities, highlight past polices and present their proposed state budget.

Policymakers estimate that Missouri is facing a $500 million budget deficit.

Nixon's speech is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Read last year's state of the state address here for some perspective on where Missouri was on the issues a year ago.

Chuck Berry
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo
  • A funeral is scheduled for Thursday for a soldier from Ste. Genevieve who died in Afghanistan. 25 year-old Sgt. Michael J. Beckerman was assigned to the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. The army says he died Dec. 31 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wound suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvsed explosive device. Beckerman arrived at Fort Campbell in January 2010. He joined the Army in September 2004.

Missouri's decline in state income may be coming to an end. The figures released today by state Budget Director Linda Luebbering show that state government saw a slight uptick in revenue collections for August, compared to a year ago: $594 million last month, compared to $589.5 million a year ago.

Although up only $4.5 million, the 0.8 percent increase comes after close to two years of monthly declines -- many of them in double digits.

Missouri's monthly income numbers continued their decline in July, but state Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the 4.2 percent drop -- compared to July 2009 -- was not unexpected.

"We're actually about right on track," Luebbering said in an interview today.

The current state budget, for the fiscal year that began on July 1, is based on an annual income increase of 2.3 percent. But Luebbering said said that budget crafters "knew we were going to start the year in the negative."

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